Mites are so small that we cannot see them with the naked eye. And yet they are there: in every household there are millions of arachnids that feed on human dander. They do not pose a health risk – unless you suffer from a house dust allergy.
Typical signs of a dust mite allergy are itchy, watery or red eyes. There are also violent attacks of sneezing and a runny nose, in the worst case also coughing or chronic asthma. The symptoms are not triggered by the 0.1 millimeter large arachnids, but by their excretions and body remains. These are mainly found in bed, as mites prefer a warm, humid environment. However, their presence has nothing to do with poor hygiene – nevertheless, allergy sufferers in particular should take measures to reduce the infestation and thus the symptoms.
Take action: How to prevent mites
Since mites prefer a warm, humid environment, the bedroom should always be cool and dry. In order to reduce the humidity, you must air the room regularly (once or twice a day) – the best way to do this is to open a window completely for several minutes. Also make sure that your bedroom is never warmer than 20 degrees. It is also helpful if the mattress can air out in the morning, as we sweat a lot at night. So instead of making the bed every morning, leave it turned down.
Change bed linen
Although mites are not a sign of poor hygiene, it is advisable to change the bed linen regularly – ideally every four weeks, and even more frequently in the warm summer months. The duvet and pillowcases used should be washed at at least 60 degrees, as the arachnids would survive low temperatures. Other textiles such as carpets, which are also home to mites, can be hung in the garden or on the balcony in the sun for a few hours.
Use mattress protectors
Mattresses are difficult to clean: Even if the cover is removable, it often does not fit in a normal washing machine and has to be taken to the cleaning. To save time and money, you can choose a waterproof and breathable one instead insert. It is available in different sizes and is simply placed between the mattress and the bed sheet. Of course, there are also special ones for people with allergies – this means anti-mite seat covers.
Where there is dust, there are mites. Not only in bed, but also on the floor. In order to contain the population, it is advisable to vacuum the bedroom regularly – or even wipe it down if the floor allows it. Hard-to-reach areas can be cleaned with a feather duster and dusty surfaces can be wiped with a damp cloth. For allergy sufferers there is also a vacuum cleaner with a special that can filter more than 99.5 percent of all particles from the air.
Reduce infestation: These tools are available
There are special protective covers not only for the mattress, but also for and : So-called encasings (“to encase” means “to cover”) were developed for allergy sufferers who react to house dust mites. The arachnids and their excretions should remain trapped between the cover and the cover thanks to the mite-proof covers, so that they cannot cause any symptoms. However, it is important to know that the encasings must also be washed regularly.
Air purifiers are also equipped with a so-called HEPA filter (High-Efficiency Particulate Air/Arrestance). According to the manufacturer, the devices should be able to remove up to 99.5 percent of the allergens that are most commonly found in the air. Of the for example filters viruses, aerosols, pollen, dust, bacteria and ultrafine particles down to a size of 0.003 microns (μm) from the air. This can reduce the typical symptoms such as itchy eyes and runny nose.
This is an effective biocide that you can use to fight mites: the contact spray with geraniol kills the arachnids and fixes them on the mattress, but does not remove them. Talk to one after treatment you still have to vacuum the treated surfaces thoroughly. You should repeat this process at least every four to six weeks so that the mite population does not spread further.
As an alternative to the air purifier, there are also special ones for mattresses, duvets and pillows: They sterilize the surface with UV-C light, which kills 99.9 percent of the arachnids (according to the manufacturer). At the same time, the device sucks in the mites and their residues and – thanks to the Hepa filter – does not let them out of the dust container. In addition, the mite vacuum also removes germs, bacteria, pathogens and fungi.
And another tip: If you can no longer get the mite problem under control, it makes sense to replace the old mattress with a new one – this is generally recommended after five to eight years.
Fight mites: The best home remedy
As an alternative to the aids mentioned, you can of course also use a tried and tested home remedy: . It has a disinfecting effect and is supposed to fight mites – using this method: Take 30 milliliters of liquid and fill it with clear water in a standard spray bottle. Mix the contents and then pour it onto the desired surfaces such as upholstered furniture or carpets. You can also use tea tree oil for the bed, including the mattress, blankets and pillows, but you should keep in mind that the smell can be very dominant and is not to everyone’s taste.
And one last tip: You can also add the tea tree oil to your mop water when cleaning the floor.